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Indochina Travel Guide

Conserving the history from the ancient B.C civilization to the World Wars time of the 6 beautiful countries in Southeast Asia such as Vietnam, Lao, Cambodia, Thailand, Myanmar and Malaysia, Indochina is always the top-trend destinations in Asia.   

History

The word of Indochina took the root from the French “Indochine” (actually Indo – Chine or Indo - China) which appeared in XIX to represent for a large colonial area of France in the south of China and the east of India, included: Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia. To be more specific, from the end of 19th Century to the middle of 20th Century, the Indochina or officially known at that time “Indochinese Union”.

Until the early of 20th Century, Saigon (at present: Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam) – the Eastern Pearl, was the Capital of Indochina. After that, Hanoi (Vietnam) was the Capital instead until the collapse of Indochinese Federation in 1945, after the failure of French Army in the Indochina War.

Eastern Pearl

Saigon - Eastern Pearl

The Indochina at that time now called French Indochina to differentiate with the Indochina at present which covers the larger areas included not only the 03 above countries but also Thailand, Myanmar and Malaysia due to the identical in culture, tradition and geographical position of these countries.

Culture

Prolonged through the wide land of Asia, Indochina owns the most diverse culture in the world with hundreds ethnicity and religions. At the beginning of civilization here, Hinduism and Natural Gods represented for the ancient beliefs of people here and played the important role of forming the typical culture throughout the land and ethnic groups.

However, with the raising of Buddhism from 6 B.C and its differentiation, the culture in Indochina was affected strongly and clearly. At present, Buddhism became the most popular religion in this land and still keep it important position in the spiritual life of people here, help to create and maintain social ethical standards, and in some country, it also affects the creation of laws.

Indochina

Indochina

Besides the Buddhism, after the wars, many other religions came to Indochina and developed fast. The 2 strongest are Christian and Islam which also create the diversification to Indochina’s culture. Also, through the ancient and modern wars, the large amount of Cantonese immigrated into Indochina, created many China towns in big cities here and popularize Taoism widely and also affect strongly on the culture here. The typical example is Vietnam where Taoism along with Buddhism created most of traditional habits and customs here.

Weather

Indochina stays in the tropical area so it is hot and humid most of the time. In general, there are 2 main seasons here: dry and wet season; it also can be divided into 4 seasons: spring, summer, autumn and winter but with the tropical climate, normally the features of those seasons are not so clearly sometimes. 

Laos

Laos

The annual average temperature of most of countries here is about 25oC and in summer, it can reach 40oC or even more in the big cities with large amount of people and transportation. Summer is also the peak time of wet season in Indochina with huge number of rains and the amount of rain fall is impressively high and the average annual index can reach up to 2000mm or more.

Dry season has more beautiful days than the wet one. There is not so many rains and the temperature is around 20 – 25oC and the sun shines almost everyday which is suitable for any trip exploring the mysterious Indochina.

Highlight Destination

Vietnam: Owning 3000 years of history, Vietnam is totally worth paying a visit for a historical and cultural trip with thousands ancient relics and cultural sites, special art shows on every night in big cities. In addition, Mother Nature gives Vietnam the magnificent landscape with the many World Natural Heritages such as: Halong Bay, Trang An, Phong Nha Ke Bang National Park. In addition, staying right beside the East Sea, Vietnam owns the longest coastline among Indochina countries. Several beautiful beaches available, some of them are the most beautiful beaches in the world, this is exactly the destination for summer providing the perfect sun, sand and sea vacation.

Myanmar

Myanmar

Myanmar: A trip to Myanmar is like riding on a time machine and driving back to the ancient day of this land. While other countries in Indochina change rapidly with the development of tourism, Myanmar seems stay the same like the old time, it changes but very slowly. Yangoon, Bagan, Mandalay, Bago are the highlight destinations of this country which attract thousands tourists each year. Among these cities, Bagan with the large complex of ancient temples and the gorgeous spectacle of “sundown” became the new trend among international tourists. In addition, travelling by hot air-balloon and 5-star luxurious river cruise are also must-try experiences in Myanmar.

Cambodia: Being world-known after the success of movie Tomb Raider released in 2001, Cambodia is still a trendy destination for tourists up until now. Besides, thanks to many scenes of the movie with the acting of famous actress Angelina Jolie at Ta Keo Temple in Angkor Archeological Park (mostly known as Angkor Wat), this complex become a must-go attraction of any tourists to Cambodia. Beside Angkor Wat and many ancient relics prolong throughout the country, Sihanoukville is also a highlight attraction in Cambodia. Staying at the south of this land, Sihanoukville own beautiful beaches and islands which still keep its wild charm.

Laos: As a landlocked country, Laos is not an ideal place for a beach vacation. However, with most of the surface area is covered with highland and mountain, trekking in Laos is a worth trying experience. Beside trekking tour, visiting ancient Buddhist temples and offering the alms to the monks in the early morning with locals are also included in must-do list of any trip to Laos. Luang Prabang and Vientiane are the 2 main tourism centers in Laos. While Vientiane is the crowded capital of Laos, Luang Prabang is an ancient big city here with the old quarter full of tourists and nice trekking routes through the mountains around the city.

Thailand

Thailand

Thailand: Thailand can be considered as the most popular country in Indochina, provide the perfect and diverse services. From the crowded, colorful and modern Bangkok to the ancient and tranquil Ayutthaya, Thailand can satisfy any demand of tourists whether what they are seeking for, local culture or some chill nights. Besides, with adventure lovers, Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai are the most suitable place with beautiful trekking route and many thrill X-game Centers. In addition, Thailand is also famous for many interesting festivals such as Songkran, Loy Krathong, Yi Peng, etc.  

Transportation 

  • By Air: This is the most convenient way to reach and travel among any country of Indochina as there are many international airlines has flights to big cities in this area. The choice for airlines is varied, from 5-star one like Qatar Airway, Cathay Pacific, EVA Air, etc. to budget one such as Air Asia, Jetstar, Cebu, etc.
  • By Car/Shuttle bus: Backpackers who is travelling at the neighbor country which shares the borders with any country of Indochina or anyone who plan to travel around different countries in Indochina, may prefer this way. By crossing the border on a shuttle bus, they can save a lot of money than buy an air-ticket. However, only the one with good health should do this as many routes take a really long time to get the final destination.
  • Cruise: This is an expensive way to get into the Indochina and travel through this land, however, it is always worth to try due to the luxurious and enjoyable experience it brings.

Tips

  • Be prepared for the sudden change of climate: bring comfortable clothes but jacket, small raincoat, umbrella and water-proof shoes are also necessary.
  • Bring along common medicine and also the one for your personal disease as sometimes it is hard to find a pharmacy in small cities and some special medicines hard to be found.
  • Bring enough cash (especially in local currency) as it is also not easy to find an ATM or get money exchange in small cities.
  • Try to bargain when shopping in the market and on the street as locals do to not being overpaid.
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